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January 23, 2023 (San Diego's East County) -- Our Health and Science Highlights provide cutting edge news that could impact your health and our future.



For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.


The CDC issues an advisory about a surge in strep throat cases in kids  (NPR)

NPR's Steve Inskeep speaks with pediatrician Afif El-Hasan about a rise in strep A cases in children, age 5 to 15, and what symptoms look like.

New 988 mental health crisis line sees ‘eye-opening’ rise in calls, texts, chats in first 6 months, data shows (CNN)

Since the summer launch of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, the new three-digit number has seen a significant rise in call volume – routing more than 2 million calls, texts and chat messages to call centers, with the majority being answered in under a minute.

As the pandemic enters its 4th year, there's still much to learn about long COVID (NPR)

Researchers estimate at least 65 million people worldwide have suffered from long COVID. NPR's Steve Inskeep talks to Dr. Eric Topol about a paper he co-authored on what we know about long COVID.

New Tech Targets Epileptic Seizures With Lasers, Robots And Precision Surgery : Short Wave  (NPR)

About three million people in the United States have epilepsy, including about a million who can't rely on medication to control their seizures. For years, those patients had very limited options....But now, in 2023, advancements in diagnosing and treating epilepsy are showing great promise for many patients, even those who had been told there was nothing that could be done.

FDA no longer requires all drugs to be tested on animals before human trials  (NPR)

A new U.S. law has eliminated the requirement that drugs in development must undergo testing in animals before being given to participants in human trials.


Ozone layer is on track to recover in next 40 years, United Nations says  (NPR)

The Earth's ozone layer is on its way to recovering within the next 40 years, thanks to decades of work to get rid of ozone-damaging chemicals, a panel of international experts backed by the United Nations has found. ...  In the latest report on the progress of the Montreal Protocol, the U.N.-backed panel confirmed that nearly 99% of banned ozone-depleting substances have been phased out.

NASA's Webb telescope has discovered its first exoplanet  (NPR)

NASA's Webb telescope has discovered an exoplanet, which is any planet that is outside of our solar system, for the first time, the agency announced Wednesday. The planet, called LHS 475 b, is nearly the same size as Earth, having 99% of our planet's diameter, scientists said. However, it is several hundred degrees hotter than Earth and completes its orbit around its star in two days. LHS 475 b is in the constellation Octans and is 41 light-years away, which is relatively nearby.

NTSB head warns of risks posed by heavy electric vehicles  (NPR)

The head of the National Transportation Safety Board expressed concern Wednesday about the safety risks that heavy electric vehicles pose if they collide with lighter vehicles...electric vehicles are typically much heavier than even the largest trucks and SUVs that are powered by gasoline or diesel.

Seattle's schools are suing tech giants for harming young people's mental health  (NPR)

The public school district in Seattle has filed a novel lawsuit against the tech giants behind TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat, seeking to hold them accountable for the mental health crisis among youth....  The 91-page complaint says the social media companies have created a public nuisance by targeting their products to children.

Scientists Have Reached a Key Milestone in Learning How to Reverse Aging (Time)

In a study published Jan. 12 in Cell, Sinclair, a professor of genetics and co-director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for Biology of Aging Research at Harvard Medical School, describes a groundbreaking aging clock that can speed up or reverse the aging of cells.... In the Cell paper, Sinclair and his team report that not only can they age mice on an accelerated timeline, but they can also reverse the effects of that aging and restore some of the biological signs of youthfulness to the animals. That reversibility makes a strong case for the fact that the main drivers of aging aren’t mutations to the DNA, but miscues in the epigenetic instructions that somehow go awry.

Here’s how the Air Force and Scripps Oceanography measure atmospheric rivers (KPBS)

“Basically we’re flying aircraft that fly over the top of atmospheric rivers, and we’re dropping weather instruments into them called dropsondes,” said Lt. Ryan Rickert, a reconnaissance weather officer with the U.S. Air Force.... Being able to better predict the development and movement of these rivers in the sky will help California’s water supply. Knowing how and when their rains will fall means being able to create reservoirs to store a lot more water.

A biotech firm says the U.S. has approved its vaccine for honeybees  (NPR)

The vaccine will be used to help fight American Foulbrood disease in the insects and was approved by the Department of Agriculture, Dalan Animal Health, the biotech company behind the vaccine, said.






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